ALF inspires a new program in Pune…

Have you ever wondered about the gender gap in academic subjects? Even now in 2014 there is a significant gap between the number of men and women who pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects for studies and for their careers. For example, in the Indian Institutes of Technology, the male female ratio is a staggering 10:1.

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What can explain the drift of boys towards Maths and Science, and girls towards arts and humanities? Cultural expectations of what girls and boys should enjoy and pursue in school play a major role–all sorts of signals, whether overt or implicit, can give girls the sense that they are unlikely to be successful in STEM subjects. Many girls at ALF want to grow up to work in STEM fields such as Engineering and Medicine, and one thing we can do to help them is to strengthen their beliefs that they can be successful in STEM fields.

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This is something that we routinely do at ALF, and now we are also starting a STEM program in Pune, a city about three hours away from Mumbai.

Our new program is just for girls, and focuses exclusively on STEM subjects and is called Avasara STEM Fellows. Unlike ALF, Avasara STEM Fellows is not a daily activity, and runs just for the two week duration of the Diwali school holidays in October. We are searching for more 6th, 7th and 8th standard students to join Avasara STEM Fellows for what promises to be an exciting time of making new friends, and doing some simple coding, engineering, maths and science activities. Avasara STEM Fellows will be held at FLAME in Lavale–please spread the word to families you know in Pune so that we can find as many girls as possible!

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